31-727. Sanitary and improvement district; organized by proceedings in district court; purposes; powers; articles of association; contents; filing; real estate; conditions; terms, defined.

(1)(a) A majority of the owners having an interest in the real property within the limits of a proposed sanitary and improvement district, situated in one or more counties in this state, may form a sanitary and improvement district for the purposes of installing electric service lines and conduits, a sewer system, a water system, an emergency management warning system, a system of sidewalks, public roads, streets, and highways, public waterways, docks, or wharfs, and related appurtenances, contracting for water for fire protection and for resale to residents of the district, contracting for police protection and security services, contracting for solid waste collection services, contracting for access to the facilities and use of the services of the library system of one or more neighboring cities or villages, and contracting for gas and for electricity for street lighting for the public streets and highways within such proposed district, constructing and contracting for the construction of dikes and levees for flood protection for the district, and acquiring, improving, and operating public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities.

(b) The sanitary and improvement district may also contract with a county within which all or a portion of such sanitary and improvement district is located or a city within whose zoning jurisdiction such sanitary and improvement district is located for any public purpose specifically authorized in this section.

(c) Sanitary and improvement districts located in any county which has a city of the metropolitan class within its boundaries or in any adjacent county which has adopted a comprehensive plan may contract with other sanitary and improvement districts to acquire, build, improve, and operate public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities for the joint use of the residents of the contracting districts.

(d) Nothing in this section shall authorize districts to purchase electric service and resell the same.

(e) The district, in lieu of establishing its own water system, may contract with any utilities district, municipality, or corporation for the installation of a water system and for the provision of water service for fire protection and for the use of the residents of the district.

(f) For the purposes listed in this section, such majority of the owners may make and sign articles of association in which shall be stated (i) the name of the district, (ii) that the district will have perpetual existence, (iii) the limits of the district, (iv) the names and places of residence of the owners of the land in the proposed district, (v) the description of the several tracts of land situated in the district owned by those who may organize the district, (vi) the name or names and the description of the real estate owned by such owners as do not join in the organization of the district but who will be benefited thereby, and (vii) whether the purpose of the corporation is installing gas and electric service lines and conduits, installing a sewer system, installing a water system, installing a system of public roads, streets, and highways, public waterways, docks, or wharfs, and related appurtenances, contracting for water for fire protection and for resale to residents of the district, contracting for police protection and security services, contracting for solid waste collection services, contracting for access to the facilities and use of the services of the library system of one or more neighboring cities or villages, contracting for street lighting for the public streets and highways within the proposed district, constructing or contracting for the construction of dikes and levees for flood protection of the proposed district, acquiring, improving, and operating public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, or, when permitted by this section, contracting with other sanitary and improvement districts to acquire, build, improve, and operate public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities for the joint use of the residents of the contracting districts, contracting for any public purpose specifically authorized in this section, or combination of any one or more of such purposes, or all of such purposes. Such owners of real estate as are unknown may also be set out in the articles as such.

(g) No sanitary and improvement district may own or hold land in excess of ten acres, unless such land so owned and held by such district is actually used for a public purpose, as provided in this section, within three years of its acquisition. Any sanitary and improvement district which has acquired land in excess of ten acres in area and has not devoted the same to a public purpose, as set forth in this section, within three years of the date of its acquisition, shall devote the same to a use set forth in this section or shall divest itself of such land. When a district divests itself of land pursuant to this section, it shall do so by sale at public auction to the highest bidder after notice of such sale has been given by publication at least three times for three consecutive weeks prior to the date of sale in a legal newspaper of general circulation within the area of the district.

(2) The articles of association shall further state that the owners of real estate so forming the district for such purposes are willing and obligate themselves to pay the tax or taxes which may be levied against all the property in the district and special assessments against the real property benefited which may be assessed against them to pay the expenses that may be necessary to install a sewer or water system or both a sewer and water system, the cost of water for fire protection, the cost of grading, changing grade, paving, repairing, graveling, regraveling, widening, or narrowing sidewalks and roads, resurfacing or relaying existing pavement, or otherwise improving any public roads, streets, or highways within the district, including protecting existing sidewalks, streets, highways, and roads from floods or erosion which has moved within fifteen feet from the edge of such sidewalks, streets, highways, or roads, regardless of whether such flooding or erosion is of natural or artificial origin, the cost of constructing public waterways, docks, or wharfs, and related appurtenances, the cost of constructing or contracting for the construction of dikes and levees for flood protection for the district, the cost of contracting for water for fire protection and for resale to residents of the district, the cost of contracting for police protection and security services, the cost of contracting for solid waste collection services, the cost of contracting for access to the facilities and use of the services of the library system of one or more neighboring cities or villages, the cost of electricity for street lighting for the public streets and highways within the district, the cost of installing gas and electric service lines and conduits, the cost of acquiring, improving, and operating public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, and, when permitted by this section, the cost of contracting for building, acquiring, improving, and operating public parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, and the cost of contracting for any public purpose specifically authorized in this section, as provided by law.

(3) The articles shall propose the names of five or more trustees who are (a) owners of real estate located in the proposed district or (b) designees of the owners if the real estate is owned by a limited partnership, a general partnership, a limited liability company, a public, private, or municipal corporation, an estate, or a trust. These five trustees shall serve as a board of trustees until their successors are elected and qualified if such district is organized. No corporation formed or hereafter formed shall perform any new functions, other than those for which the corporation was formed, without amending its articles of association to include the new function or functions.

(4) After the articles are signed, the same shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the district court of the county in which such sanitary and improvement district is located or, if such sanitary and improvement district is composed of tracts or parcels of land in two or more different counties, in the office of the clerk of the district court for the county in which the greater portion of such proposed sanitary and improvement district is located, together with a petition praying that the same may be declared a sanitary and improvement district under sections 31-727 to 31-762.

(5) Notwithstanding the repeal of sections 31-701 to 31-726.01 by Laws 1996, LB 1321:

(a) Any sanitary and improvement district organized pursuant to such sections and in existence on July 19, 1996, shall, after August 31, 2003, be treated for all purposes as if formed and organized pursuant to sections 31-727 to 31-762;

(b) Any act or proceeding performed or conducted by a sanitary and improvement district organized pursuant to such repealed sections shall be deemed lawful and within the authority of such sanitary and improvement district to perform or conduct after August 31, 2003; and

(c) Any trustees of a sanitary and improvement district organized pursuant to such repealed sections and lawfully elected pursuant to such repealed sections or in conformity with the provisions of sections 31-727 to 31-762 shall be deemed for all purposes, on and after August 31, 2003, to be lawful trustees of such sanitary and improvement district for the term provided by such sections. Upon the expiration of the term of office of a trustee or at such time as there is a vacancy in the office of any such trustee prior to the expiration of his or her term, his or her successors or replacement shall be elected pursuant to sections 31-727 to 31-762.

(6)(a) A sanitary and improvement district that meets the requirements of this subsection shall have the additional powers provided for in subdivision (b) of this subsection, subject to the approval and restrictions established by the city council or village board within whose zoning jurisdiction the sanitary and improvement district is located and the county board in which a majority of the sanitary and improvement district is located. The sanitary and improvement district shall be (i) located in a county with a population less than one hundred thousand inhabitants, (ii) located predominately in a county different from the county of the municipality within whose zoning jurisdiction such sanitary and improvement district is located, (iii) unable to incorporate due to its close proximity to a municipality, and (iv) unable to be annexed by a municipality with zoning jurisdiction because the sanitary and improvement district is not adjacent or contiguous to such municipality.

(b) Any sanitary and improvement district that meets the requirements of subdivision (6)(a) of this section shall have only the following additional powers, subject to the approval and restrictions of the city council or village board within whose zoning jurisdiction such sanitary and improvement district is located and the county board in which a majority of the sanitary and improvement district is located. Such sanitary and improvement district shall have the power to (i) regulate and license dogs and other animals, (ii) regulate and provide for streets and sidewalks, including the removal of obstructions and encroachments, (iii) regulate parking on public roads and rights-of-way relating to snow removal and access by emergency vehicles, and (iv) regulate the parking of abandoned motor vehicles.

(7) For the purposes of sections 31-727 to 31-762 and 31-771 to 31-780, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) Public waterways means artificially created boat channels dedicated to public use and providing access to navigable rivers or streams;

(b) Operation and maintenance expenses means and includes, but is not limited to, salaries, cost of materials and supplies for operation and maintenance of the district's facilities, cost of ordinary repairs, replacements, and alterations, cost of surety bonds and insurance, cost of audits and other fees, and taxes;

(c) Capital outlay means expenditures for construction or reconstruction of major permanent facilities having an expected long life, including, but not limited to, street paving and curbs, storm and sanitary sewers, and other utilities;

(d) Warrant means an investment security under article 8, Uniform Commercial Code, in the form of a short-term, interest-bearing order payable on a specified date issued by the board of trustees or administrator of a sanitary and improvement district to be paid from funds expected to be received in the future, and includes, but is not limited to, property tax collections, special assessment collections, and proceeds of sale of general obligation bonds;

(e) General obligation bond means an investment security under article 8, Uniform Commercial Code, in the form of a long-term, written promise to pay a specified sum of money, referred to as the face value or principal amount, at a specified maturity date or dates in the future, plus periodic interest at a specified rate; and

(f) Administrator means the person appointed by the Auditor of Public Accounts pursuant to section 31-771 to manage the affairs of a sanitary and improvement district and to exercise the powers of the board of trustees during the period of the appointment to the extent prescribed in sections 31-727 to 31-780.

Source:Laws 1949, c. 78, § 1, p. 194; Laws 1955, c. 117, § 1, p. 310; Laws 1961, c. 142, § 1, p. 409; Laws 1967, c. 189, § 1, p. 518; Laws 1969, c. 250, § 1, p. 909; Laws 1969, c. 251, § 1, p. 918; Laws 1973, LB 245, § 1; Laws 1974, LB 757, § 7; Laws 1976, LB 313, § 1; Laws 1977, LB 228, § 1; Laws 1982, LB 868, § 1; Laws 1985, LB 207, § 1; Laws 1994, LB 501, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 43, § 5; Laws 2003, LB 721, § 1; Laws 2008, LB768, § 1; Laws 2015, LB324, § 1.

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